Visiting The Perth Mint
After spending two weeks pretty much just searching for work I needed a break, something interested yet cheap too. I went for a visit to The Perth Mint, one of Perth’s main attractions.
The Mint is just a short walk from my centrally located hostel. It was a Saturday afternoon and I arrived just in time for the guided tours which run once an hour. The guide explained the fascinating history of The Perth Mint, how the Western Australian government enticed gold prospector Alexander Forrest over to the west with a reward of £5,000 if he found enough gold. The ultimate aim of course was to start a gold rush in the region and stimulate economic growth. It was three years later that Adam Johns and Philip Sanders found traces in the Kimberley River in 1892. That sparked the gold rush in the west where more prospectors arrived and then ten thousand over the course of three years from 1885 to 1888 once payable gold have been discovered.
My guide went on to show replicas of the biggest gold finds that have ever been discovered. The biggest being the “Golden Eagle” weighing in at a staggering 35 kg! Dad and son team, the Larcombe’s almost gave up mining the land they were on when a 70 ounce slug was found on the next block they decided to carry on. They sold it to the government for £6,000 and used it to get out of the game. The funds were used to build the Golden Eagle Hotel.
The Perth Mint was eventually opened in 1899 because there wasn’t enough currency in circulation to pay for all those that had found gold; it was the 3rd largest branch of Britain’s Royal Mint.
Inside The Perth Mint
After the 15 minute talk the guide explained that we could continue inside and view the commemorative coins for Olympic Games and other special occasions however for security reasons we couldn’t take any pictures. I got my coin stamped by one of the stamping machines they used to use at the Mint.
It was then time to watch a demonstration of a gold pour. Fascinating to watch the process where gold is heated to around 1300°C, that’s 400°C more than melting point, however gold sets very quickly so the extra heat gives time to get the gold into the mould. Impressive to watch the gold form into a gold bar so quickly and then dunked into water and be cool enough to hand hold within a minute or so.
Check out the gold bars from the smallest in the world up to larger finds and touch the gold and test your strength by lifting the $200,000 gold bar.
I had a fantastic time at The Perth Mint; I thought it was very interesting. Good for adults as well as families, especially the gold pour.
At the time of writing (May 2013 – always wanted to write that! :-)) it was under renovations so the admission price was discounted to $10 for an adult, reduced from $15. The guide said I was still getting to see the main attractions of The Mint. I will be visiting the apparently beautiful Kings Park soon so expect another post on My 30s’s travel blog soon.
Directions for getting to The Perth Mint
310 Hay Street, East Perth. Easy to get to from the CBD, it’s less than 10 minutes from the train station. The free red CAT bus drops you off nearby.
Open 7 Days from 9.00am to 5.00pm except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day. Guided tours currently run every half hour with the last being at 3.30pm.
Photo Credit: Photo of The Larcombe’s with their prize – Museum Victoria. All others are my own.